Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Part 1- What is Partnership Teaching and does it really work?


My critical analysis will be about the value of the Partnership Teaching. In the first part of my analysis, I will look into the history of mainstreaming and what the main objective was behind the mainstreaming. I will find out how mainstreaming led to partnership teaching and why it is different than other ways of collaboration between the EAL teachers and the subject teachers. In addition, I will look into how schools can establish successful partnerships between EMA/EAL and the subject teachers.

Teaching partnerships are a common response to meeting the needs of children in diverse classrooms in many countries. Such partnerships carry the main responsibility for delivering an educational policy that has the explicit aim of including and serving the needs of children who speak English as an additional language in mainstream classrooms and society.  

History of mainstreaming and partnership teaching

Partnership teaching came into practice through ‘mainstreaming’ of the EAL students. The history of this included; educating them separately with the same method of English teaching for foreign students outside the UK in 1950’s, withdrawing to teach them four skills (reading, writing, speaking and listening) in part-time or full-time language centres in 1960’s until the early 1980’s. However, this system had many disadvantages for EAL students such as; causing difficulties to integrate Britain and some racist incidents between EAL and the native speakers.

1986 Calderdale Report, which was produced after the racially motivated murder of Ahmed Iqbal Ullah, ended excluded language centres in the UK; it was in favour of access to the whole curriculum, defining the language as an entitlement for all students. This approach required EAL teachers to work alongside the subject teachers. However, for a long while EAL teachers’ knowledge and skills have become positioned as having a lower status than the subject teachers’ and showed how students come to view working with EAL teachers in the mainstream classroom as less important than other class activities.

Mainstreaming was intended to challenge the monolingual status quo while ensuring that the policy and approach remained solidly anti assimilationist.
The Government first provided funding for specialist staff to meet the needs of EAL pupils through section 11 of the Local Government Act of 1966. The aim was to help pupils from "New Commonwealth" backgrounds, and LEAs received funding based on the number of these pupils on roll. Inevitably, schools with pupils from countries that were not former colonies lost out, but it wasn't until 1993 that funding was extended to cover all EAL pupils.
In 1998, section 11 was replaced by the ethnic minorities achievement grant (EMAG), which provides funds to support both EAL pupils and those from minority ethnic groups who have English as a mother tongue but are recognised as underachieving nationally. Allocation is based on the number of EAL learners plus those from underachieving ethnic groups.
The National Curriculum provides an entitlement to a balanced and broad curriculum which is also relevant to all students’ particular needs. (DES, 1989). An OfSTED report stresses the increasing need of the specialist teacher support, also the importance of well planned and clearly structured work for motivating the students. 

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